GTPD’s Operations Center Answers the Call

Primary tabs

As the voice on the other end of the phone in campus emergencies, the dispatchers at the Georgia Tech Police Department’s (GTPD) Emergency Communications and Operations Center are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

Serving as a liaison between the community and responding officers, command center staff monitor calls, emails, and texts from Georgia Tech students, faculty, and staff. They also provide background information on suspects, research license plate numbers and warrants, and monitor the cameras on campus to provide video support for criminal investigations and to ensure officer safety during traffic stops.  

Shireka Graham, director of emergency communications, reminds all members of the Georgia Tech community not to hesitate to reach out to the operations center.  

"We want students, faculty, and staff to know that we are the heartbeat of the operation — they might not see us, but we are here for them,” she said. “We are the voice behind the call, and just like the police officers and other field responders, we're there with them.” 

Sometimes, she noted, people are reluctant to call because they don't think their situation is an emergency or that it's important. “But if they're in doubt, call us and let us get someone out there to evaluate the situation and get them the help they need," Graham said.  

"Our students are our top priority,” she said. “We know there is a lot of pressure” at Tech, especially during finals, “so we encourage our students to call us if they need someone to talk to. We can connect them with the Center for Mental Health Care and Resources, and if they call us, we will send a responder and remain on the line with them until help arrives." 

The operations center can be reached through a 911 call, the LiveSafe app (calls, texts, and audio and video messages), the center's administrative line for non-emergencies (404.894.2500), emergency elevator buttons, and 555 blue light emergency phones across campus. For those reaching out to the command center, Graham said it's important to share as much information as possible to help dispatchers provide the best response.  

Trained to Assist 

Before assuming their duties, dispatchers complete a rigorous 12-week training program, and ongoing training is required annually. The law enforcement arm of GTPD earned Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) accreditation in 2013, and Graham challenged her staff with earning the same accreditation — which they accomplished in 2022. The Operations Center is Georgia's only university or college communications center to receive it. 

“Being CALEA-accredited provides the best practices and standards to enhance our commitment to better serve and build trust within the Georgia Tech community,” Graham said. “The intensive process comprises 207 standards and 20-plus annual continued education training hours” for each dispatcher. “It's important to us to provide the highest level of customer service, process each call effectively and efficiently, and assure we're skilled to handle critical incidents regarding our students and the community we serve."   

Working alongside the dispatchers in the command center is a group of student assistants, and giving them an opportunity to see the inner workings of GTPD as video technicians is one of many outreach efforts to connect with the campus community.  

"Who knows the campus better than the students? They're the ones walking it every single day, so having them collaborate with us is very beneficial in meeting our common goal of ensuring safety for our campus," she said.   

In 2022, the team became the first university Public Safety Communications agency in the state to be recognized by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's Missing Kids & 9-1-1 Readiness Program



  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:sgagliano3
  • Created:01/19/2024
  • Modified By:sgagliano3
  • Modified:01/23/2024